23 position players appeared in games for the Rangers in 2016. Some of them were good, some of them were bad, some we hardly remember.
I've opted to issue grades to these 23 players. This is based on a combination of performance and expectations, and is ultimately subjective, and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
Here is Part I of our grades:
Hanser Alberto -- D
Alberto started the season as the Rangers’ utility infielder, though he ended up eventually losing that job to Jurickson Profar. Alberto is a fine defender who didn’t hit -- he had a .143/.143/.161 slash line in 58 plate appearances. Even for a glove-first backup infielder, that’s not okay.
Elvis Andrus — B+
What a turnaround for Elvis Andrus. The changes he started implementing in his approach at the plate in 2015 came to fruition in 2016, as he put up a very nice .302/.362/.439 slash line, while also going 24 for 32 stealing bases. He ended the year with a 3.7 bWAR and a 2.2 fWAR, the huge split largely being a disagreement between DRS and UZR over whether he was okay or awful defensively. My (possibly biased) opinion is that DRS is closer to being accurate, and he was okay defensively, but the questions about his glove keep Elvis from getting an “A.” Still, it was a strong season for him, followed up by a strong ALDS, and this should quiet, for now, the clamoring to pay someone to take his contract, or to replace him with Jurickson Profar.
Carlos Beltran — C+
Acquired at the trade deadline, with cash, for Dillon Tate and two other pitching prospects, Beltran put up a .280/.325/.451 slash line while providing a steadying influence to a lineup that was missing Shin-Soo Choo due to a broken arm for most of the final two seasons. Alas, that 776 OPS was a significant drop from the 890 OPS he had with the Yankees, and not that impressive for a guy who is just a DH. Combine that with a disappointing ALDS, and you get a middling grade.
Adrian Beltre — A
What more can you say about Beltre? He led the team offensively (.300/.358/.521 slash line), played great defense, and was out there every day. Oh, and he signed a contract extension, so he will be here another two years. No doubt Hall of Famer and one of the best players to ever play for the Rangers.
Robinson Chirinos — B
Chirinos gets unfairly maligned by a lot of the Rangers’ fan base. He’s not a good pitch framer, and his game-calling isn’t the best on the team. He also struggles to stay healthy. But Chirinos put up another strong offensive season (.224/.314/.483), does a decent job controlling the running game, and gives the Rangers one of the best backup catchers in baseball.
Shin-Soo Choo — D
A disappointing year for Choo, who couldn’t stay healthy, and wasn’t all that good when he was healthy (.242/.357/.399). The back issues are going to plague him for the rest of his contract, and appear to be having a cascade effect on his leg muscles, which resulted in multiple d.l. trips. He was activated for the final weekend and put on the playoff roster, but only started the first game of the ALDS. The Rangers owe him $82M over the next four years, and I find it difficult to believe he’ll actually last that long, health-wise.
Delino DeShields — D
Last year’s rookie surprise had a dreadful sophomore slump, as he slumped offensively, lost his starting job in center field, and ended up getting demoted. His .209/.275/.313 slash line has his role in 2017 up in the air, as he could end up starting, being a fourth outfielder, or ending up back in AAA.
Ian Desmond -- B+
Signed as spring training was beginning, Ian Desmond is kind of hard for me to grade. He was outstanding in the first half of the season, moving from left field to center field, earning a spot on the All Star team, and slashing .322/.375/.524, prompting MVP talk. He cratered in the second half, however, with just a .237/.283/.347. An All Star first half and a replacement level second half results in Desmond being around a 3 win player in 2016, which is very solid for a guy who cost $8M and a draft pick (and who will likely recoup a draft pick when he signs elsewhere).
Prince Fielder — *
Yeah, we all know what happened here. Bad season, another neck surgery, career over. The tearful press conference with Prince and his sons where he announced he would never play again is one of the indelible memories of the season.
Joey Gallo -- D
Started off hot in the minors, then got hurt, then was called up for a week, got one at bat, and then was sent back down and struggled. Gallo was called up twice more, but couldn’t make contact, ending the year with an ugly .040/.200/.160 line. Gallo’s ceiling is enormous, and him taking the next step would be a big boost for a Ranger team that could really use him mashing at first base, but there are adjustments still to be made.